IATA report: 2006 safest year for aviation

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has released its annual Safety Report, which says that 2006 was the safest year on record. There were 77 accidents in 2006, compared to 111 in 2005. Of these 77 accidents, 46 involved jet aircraft and 31 involved turbo-props.

"The safety results for 2006 are impressive. Air transport remains the safest form of travel. But we must do even better. With demand for air travel increasing at 5-6% per year, the accident rate must decrease just to keep the actual number of accidents in check. The goal will always be zero accidents. And the interim target is to reduce the industry rate to 0.49 accidents per million flights in 2008-a 25% improvement," said Giovanni Bisignani, IATA's director general and CEO.

IATA also said that the 2006 industry hull loss rate was 0.65 accidents per million flights for Western-built jets, which is equivalent to one accident for every 1.5 million flights-a 14% improvement on 2005.

IATA's member airlines performed significantly better than the global average with a hull-loss rate of 0.48 accidents per million flights, or one accident for every two million flights.

Regional Results
The Safety Report shows that not all regions of the world saw the same level of safety. For example, Russia and other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) had the highest accident rate of all the regions in 2006, with 8.6 Western-built hull losses per million flights-13 times the global average.

In Africa, though improvements have been made to enhance safety, the accident rate remains the second highest in the world at 4.31 accidents per million flights.